It is not slowdown but shortage of raw material that is giving sleepless nights to plastic industry in Gujarat. The unstable prices of many raw materials have been a cause of concern for the industry.
Indian plastic industry managed to sustain 15 per cent growth rate in past two to three years. Though all the industries have been impacted by recession in one way or the other, plastic industry has survived the slowdown. "At present slow down is not a problem for plastic industry but availability of raw material and unstable price are the hurdles of the growth," Pravinbhai Patel, president, Saurashtra Plastics Manufacturers' Association (SPMA).
"Raw material prices, including that of polymer, have increased in the range of Rs 10 to Rs 85 per kg during last ten days. A single plastic unit requires raw material of about 50 tonnes to 500 tonnes per day. India produces 50 lakh tonnes of raw materials every year," said Bhupatbhai Vyas, president, Bhavnagar Plastics Manufacturers'Association.
According to PlastIndia Foundation, plastic industry's capacity will increase by 2 to 2.5 times over the next 5 to 10 years. Industry estimates show that the fresh investment to the tune of Rs 30,000 to Rs 35,000 crore is likely to flow into plastic sector. Currently, plastic industry provides 3.5 million direct and indirect jobs, which will increase to 7.5 million by 2015 and the total turnover of Indian plastic industry is expected to cross Rs 1,30,000 crore mark.
"The future of the plastic industry is bright. Only problem that needs to be sorted out is of raw material shortage, " added Pravinbhai Patel.
As per the industry sources, India is the third largest user of plastic after America and China. Per capita plastic consumption in India is about 6 kg, which is too less compared to the world average 26 kg. About 45,000 plastic processing plants and 18,000 injections molding plant are active in India. Most of the plastics products are consumed locally and the country exports nominal chunk mainly to African and Gulf countries.